UCLA Panel Discussion on Careers!

APAUCLA Student Career Networking Conference(SCNC). What’s this? I swear I’ve never been a great alumni. When I think of alumni connections, I usually think of Harvard or USC. But UCLA? It usually doesn’t enter the picture. Maybe I’m a bad Bruin. A year ago, I was asked to do a similar panel and I didn’t make it. This year, I made it a point as a make up. Tritia Toyota, the legendary newscaster turned professor at UCLA suggested me. I didn’t ever meet her, but I’ve seen her on TV for years. Where there was a Connie Chung who was world famous, TT was more of a regional celebrity in one of the biggest markets in the US. She also has a song about her via the Dickies. I wonder if she likes that song. Thanks to her, I was back on campus. I wrote about her a bit in 2008.

The event began with Ted Chen, a newscaster in SoCal. He came in and freestyled a talk that was all over the place. From his experiences getting into the business to the current state of broadcasting which is getting tough thanks to the net.

My panel seemed geared a bit more to careers, so I’m not quite sure if entrepreneur is the right word for it, but it was actually fun talking to the students who look genuinely worried about graduating during a tumultuous economic time. I wouldn’t want to be them. Some will go straight into a corporation, and some won’t. I gave some pieces of advice.

a) The idea of Networking sounds hideous to me. What’s it mean? Knowing that there’s someone talking to you to try and gain something usually is bothersome. I detest the idea. I pushed the idea that the best way to “network” is be a fair and good person. Looking for some kind of advantage by meeting a person is a “no no”. Anyone can sniff desperation a mile away. Don’t do that. Imagine the prettiest girl or hot guy gets hit up every other minute by desperate dudes or females. Who does she pick? It’s not the desperate who usually falls off and becomes the butt of bad jokes. You won’t be getting any.

b) Help others. I think Networking for me is about helping others. Maybe it comes back in great ways, but maybe not at all. I can’t see it as a karma thing, it’s not like that. GR, not just me, has helped tons of artists, designers, and people to get inspiration. We might have pushed them more directly, and we do things with some of them, and others just run to the hills – the Beverly Hills kind.

c) Adapt. Changing times mean adapting, or being flexible to adapt. That’s what we’re doing now. It’s exciting actually and challenging.

d) Work for free. I told people that working for free isn’t a bad thing at all. Get used to it, and just do it. Don’t be desperate to learn, be desperate to help, and you’ll learn in the best ways.

e) Gene J. Kim, a dude I’d call an “urban planner” at Parsons Brinckerhoff and part of the rail projects that will happen in LA, dropped knowledge of all sorts. It was great to hear him talk 10% about his actual work, but 90% about the philosophies behind why and how… to live! I hope the kids took notes. Although there were tips on interviews, and how you got a job not by interviewing, but his quotes about figuring out who you are, and being genuine were his basic statements. His only regret is that he was sort of a sheep in college and didn’t strike forward or stand out to his professors. I was somewhat the same. There’s a time and place when that might happen. It could be years later and that’s ok.

Thanks to those attended, the other panelists, and moderators for the great experience. I ended up talking to some of the students until 10:30pm.